National CAPACD’s Small Business, Big Dreams introduced at policy roundtable
From National CAPACD
The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National
CAPACD) introduced its latest report Small Business, Big Dreams at a roundtable
discussion in Flushing, NY last Friday. Flushing is one of the nation’s most diverse
commercial districts with many thriving Asian American owned businesses.  The event
was held at the offices of Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC), one
of the nine National CAPACD member organizations profiled in the report.
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) attended and discussed policy priorities to
address the needs and challenges highlighted in the report.

Congresswoman Meng noted “Small business is a priority for me because I represent a
vibrant district built by small businesses. Reports like these are so important for policy
makers because we are not the experts, and we look to you for critical data. Today is
not just about the unveiling of this report, but a mandate to take recommendations back
to Congress for legislative action.”
Congresswoman Meng provides remarks
Seema Agnani, Executive Director of National CAPACD provided an overview of the report, noting
that National CAPACD produced it to tell a more accurate and nuanced story about Asian American
and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business owners in low-income communities. Small Business, Big
Dreams combines analyses of both federal data and original data collected through surveys of
member organizations and the small business owners they serve. The report outlines their
challenges and needs and the innovative strategies deployed by local organizations to create
economic opportunity and preserve AAPI neighborhoods. With some 2 million AAPI-owned
businesses in the U.S. today, half of which employ fewer than 20 people, entrepreneurship is an
important asset building pathway for this community.

National CAPACD Executive Director Seema Agnani shared “AAPI immigrants start businesses at a
higher rate than the general U.S. population. Yet, the AAPI entrepreneur community faces significant
barriers to starting, expanding, and operating their businesses. For example, there is an
overreliance on friends and family for advice and access to startup capital because of a distrust of
mainstream financial institutions. Fully 66% of National CAPACD members overall do not receive
any small business-related funding or technical assistance from federal agencies. The remaining
34% receive federal funding to support small business programming from the Small Business
Administration or the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund program.”
displacement as an urgent issue confronting the
community nationwide and called for as greater
investment in the Small Business Administration
and Treasury’s CDFI Fund program to address
the pressing needs of this community.

Natalie Abatemarco, Managing Director, Citi
Community Development and Inclusive Finance
discussed long-term support of National CAPACD
and other groups working on the racial wealth
gap. She also highlighted Citi’s work to promote
employee-owned business models as a means
to preserve minority-owned businesses and
community assets.

“Neighborhoods are built and run on small
businesses with a track record of success that
Left: REDC Managing Director Jessie Lee provides remarks;
Right: BCNA Executive Director Yanki Tshering provides remarks
REDC’s Managing Director Jessie Lee and the Business Center for New Americans’s Executive Director Yanki Tshering, from two of the nine groups profiled
in the report, noted the lack of access to capital and limited English proficiency as two major barriers to AAPI entrepreneurship. They also highlighted
are employing local residents with good jobs,” said Natalie Abatemarco. “At Citi, we aim to help retain and preserve those businesses, especially those in
lower-income neighborhoods that are under threat of displacement.”

The report highlights nine National CAPACD members: Asian Economic Development Association, Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program, Asian
Services in Action, Business Center for New Americans, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment, Pacific Island
Knowledge 2 Action Resources, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.